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Solicitation of Applications for Potential Groundfish Sector Monitoring Providers

September 28, 2023

Sector at-sea monitoring and electronic monitoring provider applications are due October 27, 2023.

We are soliciting at-sea monitoring (ASM) and electronic monitoring (EM) applications from new providers, and updated materials from currently approved providers that wish to maintain their approval status, for fishing year 2024 (May 1, 2024 through April 30, 2025).

New providers that would like to provide either ASM or EM services to groundfish sectors must submit a full application by October 27, 2023. New service provider applicants should specify in their cover letter whether they are interested in providing ASM services, EM services, or both. Service providers interested in providing both ASM and EM services should develop separate ASM and EM plans to meet the application requirements and service provider performance standards. Service providers seeking new approval should submit an application that includes a cover letter and the information and statements identified in the regulations at 50 CFR 648.11(h)(3). 

Service providers approved for fishing year 2023 that wish to maintain their approval status must submit updated proof of insurance, an updated Emergency Action Plan (EAP), and notify us of any changes to staffing or operations as described in § 648.11(h)(3) and (5) by October 27, 2023.

NOAA Fisheries has developed an EAP template to assist service providers in creating or revising their EAP for fishing year 2024. The EAP template includes the recommended elements of a complete EAP. We encourage service providers to review the template and include the corresponding information in their EAP.

We will aim to publish our decisions on service provider approvals in the Federal Register prior to the end of the 2023 calendar year to give sectors and providers ample time to negotiate ASM and/or EM contracts for the 2024 fishing year. We will offer another opportunity for new service providers to apply for approval to provide ASM and/or EM services prior to fishing year 2025.  

Complete information regarding the requirements of the Northeast multispecies sector monitoring program can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations. The regulations at § 648.11(h)(3) describe the contents of the service provider application; § 648.11(h)(5) contains the responsibilities of monitoring service providers; § 648.11(i) contains the observer, monitor, and video reviewer certification requirements; and § 648.11(l) describes the Northeast multispecies sector monitoring program. 

At this time, we are not soliciting applications to provide dockside monitoring (DSM) services related to the Maximized Retention EM program. We will provide additional information on the fishing year 2024 DSM program in future communication. For more information on DSM for maximized retention EM, please contact Claire Fitz-Gerald at Claire.Fitz-Gerald@noaa.gov. 

Please use Kiteworks, a secure file-sharing service, to submit all information by October 27, 2023, to Claire Fitz-Gerald at Claire.Fitz-Gerald@noaa.gov. If you have any questions regarding the application process, maintaining approved service provider status, or need help creating a Kiteworks account, please contact Claire Fitz-Gerald at Claire.Fitz-Gerald@noaa.gov or (978) 281-9255.